The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the selection of the five individuals who will receive the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors. Recipients to be honored at the 37th annual national celebration of the arts are: singer Al Green, actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks, ballerina Patricia McBride, singer-songwriter Sting, and comedienne Lily Tomlin.
“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Al Green’s iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own; Tom Hanks has a versatility that ranks him among the greatest actors of any generation; one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Patricia McBride continues to carry forward her legacy for future generations; Sting’s unique voice and memorable songwriting have entertained audiences for decades; and from the days of her early television and theatrical appearances, Lily Tomlin has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit.”
The annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural year, and its broadcast on CBS is a high point of the television season. On Sunday, December 7, in a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, produced by George Stevens, Jr. and Michael Stevens, the 2014 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers through performances and tributes.
The President and Mrs. Obama will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance. The 2014 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a supper dance in the Grand Foyer.
The Kennedy Center Honors medallions will be presented on Saturday, December 6, the night before the gala, at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on the CBS Network for the 37th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Tuesday, December 30 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
Under the leadership of George Stevens, Jr. and his Honors producing partner, Michael Stevens, the broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors has received five Emmy Awards in the last six years for Outstanding Television Special. The Honors telecast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America. Between them, the Stevenses have received 22 Emmys and 54 nominations for their work in television. Nick Vanoff was co-creator of the Honors with George Stevens, Jr. in 1978.
The Boeing Company is the exclusive underwriter of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors Gala Luncheon and post-gala supper dance in the Grand Foyer.
Delta Air Lines, the official airline of the Kennedy Center Honors, will provide transportation for the performers and television crew that will be coming to Washington for the Honors Gala.
The Honors recipients recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television—are selected by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
The Honoree selection process includes solicitation of recommendations from the general public and an advisory committee comprised of artists, past Honorees and Kennedy Center board members. Previous Honors recipients and members of the Honors artist committee making recommendations included Edward Albee, Marc Anthony, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Harry Belafonte, Harolyn Blackwell, Glenn Close, Stephen Colbert, Christoph Eschenbach, Jose Feliciano, Sutton Foster, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Hugh Jackman, Quincy Jones, Lang Lang, John Lithgow, Lourdes Lopez, Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Terrence McNally, Anna Netrebko, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, Sidney Poitier, Arturo Sandoval, Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep.
Newly arrived Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter expressed the Center’s continued gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. “In addition to recognizing some of the world’s most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors supports a wide variety of artistic programming, as well as the Center’s educational and national outreach efforts.”